This Is My 200th Story! Will It Be My Last?

Image by Karma Willow Designs

It’s amazing! They said it couldn’t be done! I’m going to throw a party to which you all will be invited. I’m going to hire a sky-writing plane to fly over Manhattan and cover the heavens with this announcement: Neil Scheinin, a grand slacker, somehow has written 200 stories for his blog. A miracle has occurred!

And after all of that I might just hang up my writing boots forever. Why? Because writing mentally exhausts me. I mean, after I finish a piece I’m so limp you’d have no trouble folding me up and squeezing me into a goldfish bowl. I’ve gone through this 200 times now. Maybe that’s enough.

And if it is enough, that wouldn’t be so bad. With writing no longer on the menu, I’d devote the extra time on my hands to my living room sofa, where I’m already spending an average of 10 hours a day. The sofa is where I do my best kind of work anyway, you know. By which I mean that I am a master at twirling the handful of hairs remaining on the crown of my head while stuffing my maw with boxfuls of Cheez-It crackers. I love my sofa. My gratitude for having the comfiest place in the world to rest my ancient ass is eternal.

To write or not to write, that is the question. Making the decision isn’t easy. Which is why I’ve recently sought guidance from three individuals. The first conversation took place a week ago. It was with my esteemed editor, Edgar Reewright.

“Neil, the exorbitant fees that you pay me for my services are crucial to my financial stability,” Edgar screamed over the phone after I laid out my thoughts. “Do you hear me? Crucial, I say. My stable of writers has been shrinking like a Greenland glacier. Without you on board I don’t know what I’d do! Oh, why was I born? Why was I born? I should have listened to my parents and majored in philosophy in college. If I had, then I’d know the answer to ‘why was I born?’ Shit, maybe it’s not too late. Where are those volumes of the collected works of Plato and Aristotle that I occasionally glanced at years ago? Ah, I remember. They’re under my dog’s mattress, firming it up. Spot! Spot! Get off your bed! Daddy needs to get something.”

“Later, Edgar,” I said. “I’ll be in touch.”

Edgar’s situation is no joke. Though not many people depend on me, he definitely does. Conversely, my psychiatrist, Dr. R. U. Forereel, is someone upon whom many people depend. Including me. The day after I spoke with Edgar I attended my bi-weekly session with Dr. Forereel.

“Doctor,” I said to her after seating myself in her patients’ chair, “I know that we normally discuss issues that have their roots in my misspent childhood, such as why in my 71 years of existence I’ve never once bonded with a cat. If I weren’t so sphinxlike, maybe by now we’d have uncovered an answer or two to that one. My bad! But today I need your opinions about my creative outlet. I’ve been writing steadily for almost four years, as you know. My next story will be my 200th, a true milestone. But I’m weary, doctor. Writing has taken its toll on me. I’m thinking of ending my career.”

Career?” Dr. Forereel immediately exclaimed. “What career? Neil, the essays and other pieces that you produce are trifles, no? And you receive how much in payment for them? Wait, let me guess. The answer begins with a z and ends with an o and has an e and an r in the middle. Am I right? Neil, what you do with words amounts to nothing more than a hobby, a way to pass the time. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but it’s important to look at things realistically. I have no couch in my office for my patients, only a chair. But you, Neil, have a wonderful couch at home, as you’ve told me many times over the years. Take further advantage of that sofa. It’s one of your very best friends. Writing means little in comparison to the peace of mind that your sofa brings.”

At the end of the session I thanked the good doctor and then went to my car. Her advice echoed through my mind continuously during the drive back home.

Later that day I poured out my heart to my wife Sandy. Edgar Reewright had implored me to continue writing. Dr. Forereel had said, basically, “why bother?” What were Sandy’s feelings?

“Listen,” she began, “it’s entirely up to you. But I’ll say this: At least you’re not getting Cheez-It crumbs all over the couch when you’re at your writing desk. So that’s a good reason, in my opinion, for you to keep turning out your stories. However, there are how many projects around the house that you’ve never gotten to? Twenty? Thirty? Seems to me that starting a blog might be what you came up with to avoid doing what needs to be done around here.”

Valued readers, I’m in a quandary. I’m going to have to look deep within myself over the next several days. There’s plenty for me to ponder. Maybe I’ll be back on these pages. Maybe I won’t. Time, as always, will tell.

(Yo! Despite the uncertainties presented above, please don’t be shy about adding your comments or about sharing this story. Mucho gracias.)

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186 thoughts on “This Is My 200th Story! Will It Be My Last?

  1. Isabelle February 12, 2019 / 3:44 pm

    In this particular case, I’m on the editor’s side, Neil. Cheez-it crackers will always taste good no matter they are enjoyed on the couch or at the writing desk, I think. Please continue to share your creativity and good sense of humour with your audience, me included. Catch up soon, Isabelle

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Cindy February 12, 2019 / 9:54 pm

    Kudos on reaching #200! That’s a remarkable achievement. I don’t know how you do it, but I’m glad you’re keepin’ on!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. cincinnatibabyhead February 13, 2019 / 2:56 am

    You cannot bullshit a bullshitter. You can try. See ya next week fella. I can’t get that image of you lying on the couch woofing down Cheez – Its, out of my mind.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 13, 2019 / 8:31 am

      Yeah, I never seem to get tired of Cheez-Its, though I don’t eat anywhere near as many as I did when I was younger. Have a great rest of the week!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. johnlmalone February 13, 2019 / 4:00 pm

    an amusing piece presenting three different perspectives on being a writer and they all are true but we do it anyway; why? because it’s like breathing and eating — for us it’s natural and we get a kick out of it 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 13, 2019 / 8:08 pm

      “for us it’s natural and we get a kick out of it” —

      You’re exactly right!

      Like

  5. alhenry February 13, 2019 / 6:05 pm

    Aw, you old showboater, you could no more stop writing than TheRUMP can stop being a nefarious douchebag. The difference is your many fans dwarf his inaugural crowd and you’re a genuine mensch (a word the OrangeOne couldn’t even spell). But we writers have a need to be read, to speak out, to entertain and perhaps even add something of note to the cultural dialogue (although we prefer to do it from the cozy privacy and comfort of our sofa rather than the public frenzy of a red carpet event, as actors do.) As for Cheez-its? Every writer knows they are the nutritional staple of the creative life. Right up there with Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and beer! Until your next post…

    Liked by 3 people

  6. America On Coffee February 13, 2019 / 11:24 pm

    Couches are amazing cushions, many people mistake them as beds and began dreaming..Your wrtings are so journeying and fun. Congrats Neil on your 200th story. Real or unreal, psychs know the power of the couch.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 14, 2019 / 7:28 am

      Hi, and thank you for stopping by. Yeah, I’m sifting through some story ideas. When one of them seems right to me, I’ll get to work.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. draliman February 14, 2019 / 2:55 am

    I do my writing from my living room sofa so I manage to combine both writing and lounging!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. tanjabrittonwriter February 14, 2019 / 2:15 pm

    Even though the couch would, no doubt, love to keep you in its embrace, and the makers of Cheez-Its would be in favor of more couch time, too, the blogosphere would be impoverished without your cherished presence and contributions, Neil! Just saying!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Annika Perry February 15, 2019 / 2:44 am

    Neil, even as you’re in a quandary you have me in stitches! 😀 Between the pull of the couch and cheez-its (they look so tempting I want some now) and the house projects I do hope you manage to squeeze in time for blogging & your stories! Wow! Two hundred is a huge milestone … here’s to the next 200!!

    Btw. I’ve ordered The Journal of the Plague Years from the library and look forward to reading it soon.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 15, 2019 / 8:25 am

      Hi Annika. Plague Years is written in a straightforward and clinical way. To me, its tone was powerful. I’ll be interested to find out what you thought of the book. See you!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. jeanleesworld February 15, 2019 / 6:33 am

    Why not write while on your couch with a bowl of Cheezits? My favorite place to write in the house is the recliner. 🙂 Win-win!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Robyn Haynes February 16, 2019 / 6:19 pm

    Neil, I’m with Sandy. get thee to your writing desk and ban the Cheez It crumbs from the sofa. Besides, I enjoy your stories.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Silver Screenings February 17, 2019 / 12:52 pm

    Two hundred stories! Wow – that’s a remarkable achievement.

    I’m another member of Team Sandy when it comes to Cheez It crumbs. So I’m going to buy a box and snack on it while reading your 201st story. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  13. cath February 18, 2019 / 7:51 am

    Sounds like you’ve reached a positive decision without any further input, but just for the record, I would have been a ‘keep typing’ voter. If Dr Forereel hasn’t yet worked out why you’ve never bonded with a cat I’d question her competence.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Still a Runner February 18, 2019 / 4:50 pm

    Here’s too 200 and looking forward to 201!. There will always be a space on the blogosphere for wit and wisdom.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Julie Holmes, author February 18, 2019 / 6:44 pm

    Despite the enjoyment of fishing stray Cheez-its from between the cushions, I don’t think you can give it up. I mean, you are a writer, right? A writer can’t stop writing. You can’t. You will go through withdrawal, and even Cheez-its won’t taste good, not even the nice, soft ones from way down in the crack of the couch. Seriously, Neil, WRITE ON! 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 18, 2019 / 8:04 pm

      Hey there, Julie. Writing kind of poops me out. But yeah, it gives a lot of pleasure too. I’ll keep turning out the essays. Have a great week. See you!

      Like

  16. Alison February 19, 2019 / 3:40 pm

    Only write what you are inspired to write and do so with a tablet on that couch.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 19, 2019 / 4:20 pm

      Hi Alison, and thanks for stopping by. I’m sitting on the couch as I type this. It’s comfortable! See you.

      Liked by 2 people

  17. Paddy Tobin February 20, 2019 / 9:04 am

    Fortunately, I read Blog 201 before this one and so was not tormented by the anxiety of waiting to see if there would be a next installment. Retrospective reading has its benefits then! Keep writing!

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Fictionophile February 20, 2019 / 4:01 pm

    Don’t stop writing Neil. I always get a smile from your stories. Also, I have to add….
    Don’t completely ignore Sandy’s ‘Honey-Do’ list.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. vondehnvisuals February 22, 2019 / 9:04 pm

    Reblogged this on Peace Prophecy and commented:
    Freelance Storytelling from fell low Blogger… I think We should lift him up off that couch and encourage 200 more!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Jackie, The Baseball Bloggess February 25, 2019 / 10:00 am

    The average lifespan of a blog is about 3 months and a handful of posts. 200 posts is worth a very nice Cheezits celebration. Congratulations! And, I’m looking forward to reading the next 200 …

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Dave Ply February 25, 2019 / 1:28 pm

    Well done on hitting 200! I recently hit 150 and wonder how that happened. Maybe because I write on a laptop, which by definition should sit on a lap, which frees me up to enjoy the couch while writing.

    Here’s to your next 200. 🍺

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Anonymous February 26, 2019 / 12:36 pm

    Keep writing! I enjoy your wit and originality.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. joylennick March 1, 2019 / 7:56 am

    Hi Neil, or ‘Another Blogger..’. Thanks for reading the hotel post (one of the most interesting times in our lives). I enjoyed reading two of yours and do suggest you gather them together and have a book published?! It would make entertaining reading. I love reading humour with a Jewish flavour as my husband is Jewish (although we are now both Humanists, I was accepted into the Jewish faith many years ago). Our three, precious, sons were all ‘snipped’ but not Barmitzvahed (?) and turned out very well…, (but no doctors/lawyers already…) All have inherited my husband’s humour, which I firmly believe keeps insanity at bay…Have you never fancied writing short stories? I’ve had several books published and am writing another at present about a Jewish family living in Lodz,Poland in 1939..It’s a slow process as I’m still gathering material.but have almost finished Part 1 (of 2).Whether you’re couch-lounging or scribbling, enjoy! Cheers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 1, 2019 / 4:43 pm

      Joy, many thanks for all your thoughts. Good luck with your book. You ask about short stories. Well, a few of my pieces on my blog are sort of short stories. They’re imaginary and (maybe) humorous. I don’t know if I’ll be taking any new directions in the future with my writing. Probably not, but one never knows. See you —
      Neil Scheinin

      Like

  24. Quirky Girl March 1, 2019 / 3:05 pm

    Belated congrats on hitting the big 2-0-0!!!

    In post quantity, that is… 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Imelda March 4, 2019 / 3:47 pm

    Congratulations! Keep writing (after you have done the honey-do list). 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  26. chattykerry March 9, 2019 / 11:39 am

    Take a break, do some honey-dos and then your urge to write will come back. Promise!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Linda Thornton March 11, 2019 / 5:08 pm

    Oh, Neil- say it isn’t so!

    Are you “kitten” me right “meow”? We people that aren’t cat people have to stick together.

    Who will I banter back and forth with, liking and commenting on each other’s posts, like an ongoing game of pickle ball, only with words?

    I’m going to throw something out to you that may sound startling; have you ever considered eating Cheez-its while writing? No crumbs in between the sofa cushions and no “honey do” list; a win, win. Or, eating Cheez-its and posting less? Notice I didn’t say eat less Cheez-its.

    Look down at your orange stained fingers; those digits type out those witty stories that only you can write, so think about sticking around a while….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 11, 2019 / 5:55 pm

      Hi Linda. I’m still at it. What I said about writing kind of wearing me out is true. But I haven’t stopped. In fact, story number 203 came out today. Thanks for your good thoughts. Appreciated!

      Like

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